Having led the Premier League table from August until May, only the downright delusional would contest the notion that Chelsea were worthy winners of the 2014/15 title.
At 13/10, it’s widely expected they’ll retain the crown next term too, with odds of 11/4 saying they’ll be residing in the same place of prominence after the first month of the new campaign is concluded, just as they were 12 months ago.
Alongside fellow 11/4 shot Manchester United, this is the shortest of all the prices in bwin.com’s ‘Who’ll be top on September 1st?’ market, but a quick glance at the fixture card for the eighth month of the calendar underlines the sizeable task the Blues have on their hands to score more points than their foes in the first four games.
Starting at home is always preferable and Chelsea are, but they’re facing Swansea, a side who have caused a few problems for them in recent years, even at their Stamford Bridge stronghold.
Last season saw Jose Mourinho’s troops score nine and concede two against the south Wales side, but their home game wasn’t as straightforward, with Garry Monk’s men in the ascendency for the majority of the first half, while the underdogs won 2-0 in the Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg in early 2013.
Then comes a trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City, their chief rivals for the Premier League crown according to the odds.
The Citizens have been unable to beat Mourinho’s Chelsea since the Portuguese returned to west London, but only the most optimistic Blues supporters will be regarding the first away match of the campaign as an easily-attainable three points.
A Hawthorns sojourn follows this, where the champions haven’t won since 2011.
Three of their last four trips to this corner of the Black Country have yielded defeat, the most recent being a 3-0 shellacking in the penultimate game of 2014/15.
Chelsea sign off on August with a London derby at home to Crystal Palace, who don’t strike as the most difficult hurdle to clear on the surface, but they were one of the best road teams of the previous season.
Only five teams accumulated more points away from home than Alan Pardew’s troops, who were only beaten 1-0 at the Bridge last time around.
When these factors are considered, the decision to oppose joint-favourites Chelsea to top the Premier League on September 1st becomes an easy one.